Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stop the bleeding...puhleaze!

Interesting coincidence that newly minted Nobel prize winner Edmund Phelps has an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (thanks to Greg Mankiw), in which he contrasts the English speaking world's system of capitalism with its less dynamic cousin:

Wasn't the Continental system designed to stifle dynamism?

Not only in the midst of the Airbus fiasco, which demonstrates nicely Phelps' point:

Late on Monday Frenchman Christian Streiff was replaced as chief executive of Airbus by Gallois, who also retains his functions at EADS. This was seen as strengthening the influence of France over Airbus.

"We must stop everything becoming French" at Airbus, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung told the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel earlier this week.

Many analysts say that the complicated management and production structure, and political interference are the main causes of the crisis at EADS.

But also this from New Scientist that couldn't be better designed to stifle creative destruction:

...members of the European Parliament (MEPs) insisted that chemical manufacturers must be held legally responsible for the safety of their products, and must replace hazardous chemicals if there are safer alternatives.

.... Called REACH (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals), the proposed EU law could affect thousands of chemical products. It will oblige companies to register all chemicals they use and provide information about them as well as any potential hazards.

....The new regulations will apply retroactively to many of those chemicals. The proposed assessment and licensing could have an enormous impact on the European chemicals sector....

As amended today, the proposed law requires industry to prove chemicals are safe.

Which is itself justaposed at New Scientist with this marvel from the United States:

Swab a clear liquid onto a gaping wound and watch the bleeding stop in seconds. An international team of researchers has accomplished just that in animals, using a solution of protein molecules that self-organise on the nanoscale into a biodegradable gel that stops bleeding.

.... In the course of [their] research they discovered one material's dramatic ability to stop bleeding in the brain and began testing it on a variety of other organs and tissues. When applied to a wound, the peptides form a gel that seals over the wound, without causing harm to any nearby cells.

.... Some surgeons are already excited about the material. "I see great potential in the eye field, the gastro-intestinal field, and in neurosurgery," says Dimitri Azar, head of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, US.

.... Ed Buchel, who teaches general and plastic surgery at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Canada, sees equal potential for treating trauma and burns. "If this works as well on humans as it does on rats, it's phenomenal," he says.

That is, a chemical that in Europe would be held to be guilty until proven innocent (i.e 'safe').

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